Silver Spring, Maryland – The El Paso Zoo, in partnership with Big Bend National Park have been awarded the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) America’s Keystone Wildlife (AKW) grant recipients for 2018.
“The collaborations between AZA, our member zoos and aquariums, and government entities enable us to protect our nation’s native wildlife and wild places,” said Dan Ashe, president and CEO of AZA. “These partnerships have led to the successful recovery and reintroduction of American bison, black-footed ferrets, and other species once on the verge of extinction in our own backyards.”
Made possible by a Thoresen Foundation gift to AZA, these five $10,000 grants will be used to conduct conservation activities benefitting North American species on public lands as a part of Zoo-Park Partnerships, an initiative designed to unite zoos and National Parks, National Wildlife Refuges, and National Forests and Grasslands (“parks”) in restoring sustainable habitats and wildlife populations.
Zoo-Park Partnerships (ZPPs) help America recover the wildlife legacy lost during the Fur Trade and Westward Expansion era of U.S. history and improve wildlife population health, genetic integrity and habitat in ways that also benefit local communities on public lands today.
Zoos and parks also provide opportunities for inspired visitors to participate in “citizen stewardship” volunteer work that directly improves habitats and quality of life for AKW animals. The Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) is a primary AKW Project partner.
The 2018 Grant Recipients include:
- El Paso Zoo, partnering with Big Bend National Park
- Blank Park Zoo, partnering with Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge
- Dakota Zoo, partnering with Theodore Roosevelt National Park
- Naples Zoo, partnering with Big Cypress National Preserve
- Red River Zoo, partnering with Wind Cave National Park
“Wildlife are a vital part of the historical landscape our National Parks and Refuges sustain and interpret. Partnerships with AZA zoos build capacity for restoring healthy wildlife populations and habitats and provide a key platform to share this important story of stewardship with zoo and park visitors alike,” said Julie Anton Randall, ZPPs for AKW Project Leader.
All AZA-accredited facilities are eligible to receive funding. Successful grant recipients demonstrate ZPP plans centered on field conservation, interpretation, and/or citizen stewardship in line with the goals of the America’s Keystone Wildlife™ (AKW) Project.
To learn more, visit www.aza.org